Petitjean – John Pidgeon – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Petitjean – John Pidgeon

It is with great sadness that I learned today that John passed away yesterday.  According to the announcement in the Daily Telegraph “he did not have a battle with cancer; he did his best to get along with it”.

We often joked on here, in the words of Gnomethang, “I always consider that I need to put a ‘slightly mad’ hat on in order to solve a Petitjean crossword.” and he enjoyed this comment so much that he included it in his Wikipedia entry.

My condolences go to his wife and the rest of his family – he will be missed.

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37 comments on “Petitjean – John Pidgeon

  1. Sad news indeed. My condolences to the family.

    Gnomey and I spent an enjoyable morning with him a couple of years ago, when he launched a crossword solving course. I wonder if he’s left the ‘mad hat’ for another setter to use in future.

    RIP John.

  2. I was very sad to read this. PJ’s puzzles were always a tussle and well worth the effort to solve. My condolences to his family and friends. Crosswordland will be the poorer for his passing.

  3. That’s really sad news. Condolences to his family.
    Petitjean was one of my favourite setters – always good for a few laughs. I hope that he’s left a supply of puzzles to be published in future.

  4. Really sad to hear of the death of Petitjean. I enjoyed his crosswords so much – they were never easy but there was always something to make you laugh.
    My condolences to his family.

  5. That is terribly sad news. Crosswordland has in my opinion lost one of the finest setters; I always enjoyed his puzzles immensely.
    Condolences to family and friends.
    RIP John.

  6. How extremely sad. I’ve only seen him once or twice but I feel I know him well through his puzzles, which of course can be enjoyed again.

    Condolences to family and friends

  7. Very sad news. My condolences to family and friends. I always enjoyed John’s puzzles. They were ones where you had to think laterally. RIP John.

  8. How sad. My condolances too to his family and friends.

    It was always fun to see his name at the top of a Toughie and even more fun to spot his regular appearances on the back page. The Daily Telegraph’s puzzles will be the poorer without John. Whilst his ‘slightly mad’ hat has been mentioned, I always appreciated his love of food, drink and music that often appeared in his clues.

    May he rest in peace.

  9. Sad news indeed, but what inspiring words from Leon. My condolences to his family and friends.

  10. I came late to his puzzles but always felt a sense of achievement when I had completed. Also greatly appreciated that he popped into to comment.
    RiP PJ

  11. I also met John at the event Sue mentions, where he was very hospitable and informative. I am saddened to hear the news.
    RIP John

  12. What a dreadful loss, not only to his family and friends of course, but to the world of crosswords.
    I have thoroughly enjoyed his ‘mad hat’ style over the couple of years that I have been a regular solver – hard to believe that there will be no more from him.
    R.I.P.

  13. Very sad news indeed. My condolences to family and friends.

    PJ’s humour and character, as well as some of his interests, came through in his puzzles. I will miss those things and am sad that I never had the chance to meet him.

    I’m wearing my mad hat at half-mast today. Rest in peace, John.

  14. RIP, a sad loss to crosswordland. I too enjoyed his puzzles, and bemoan the absence of the Toughie in the iPad app version – which meant I have had too little exposure to his wit and humour, and mad-hattedness of late. Now I will miss for evermore the quiet enjoyment and pride I felt on completing a Petitjean crossword.

  15. Very sad news about John Pidgeon.

    “Adieu”, Monsieur Petitjean – wish it was just “au revoir”.

  16. Very sad news indeed.My condolences to his family.I wish I had been able to have the opportunity of improving at his puzzles.

  17. Sad, sad news – my condolences to all his family and close friends. His puzzles were always so enjoyable and that he spared the time to comment and engage others on this blog makes it feel that I’ve lost a friend. May you rest in peace John – I doff my cap to you sir.

  18. Very sad news – I had just got used to the style so as to spot the anonymous back-pagers and only yesterday was thinking it was about time for one of his toughies

    My condolences to his family and friends

  19. I can only echo the sentiments of other contributors. I always relished the challenge of a Petitjean puzzle, and I hope he enjoyed devising them as much as we all enjoyed grappling with them. RIP, PJ.

  20. Petitjean’s puzzles were always something to look forward to and he will be sadly missed.

  21. He always popped in to say hello which was always appreciated.
    Goodbye PJ Rest in peace.

  22. In the paper, under today’s Toughie it says:

    RIP John Pidgeon, aka Petitjean, who died on Tuesday, aged 69. John set 74 Toughies and 87 Telegraph Crosswords (mainly on Thursdays), all brimming with wit and originality. We will miss him.

  23. I am very saddened by this news. My deepest condolences to his family and his friends, and to all who have had so much enjoyment from his puzzles.
    Petitjean was one of my favourite setters. As well as fun, there was always so much of interest in his crosswords. We will miss him. May he rest in peace.

    1. I thought so too. I particularly like the way Gnomey’s mad hat comment has progressed from the blog to Wikipedia and now the DT too!

  24. I too would like to comment – like those who’ve gone before me – and add my condolences to John’s family and friends. Having just read the eye-opening obituary in today’s Telegraph, I would agree that he was a polymath and he’ll be sadly missed.

  25. What sad news to find when we got back to the site after our absence.
    We will certainly miss the hours of delight he has given us with his puzzles.
    Our deep condolences to John’s family and friends.

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